Approved to Receive a Call (Not Ordained)
This section is for individuals who have completed Seminary and have been approved by their Presbytery to seek a call. If you are ordained please select the ”ordain” selection on the slider to your right. If you are not a member of one of our four Presbyterian Denominations, please contact us by phone (202) 244-4177 or email.
To help you through this process please follow these steps:
Talk with your family, mentors, fellow pastors, and those who can help you discern this option for your ministry. Look through our FAQs section. The FAQs may help you think about different topics that you might address with others and yourself as you move through this process.
3. Consider the General Requirements
Consider carefully if you can qualify by meeting these general requirements:
- Sensitive to religious pluralism and able to provide for the free exercise of religion by all military personnel, their family members and civilians who work with that military service.
- Possess a baccalaureate degree of not less than 120 semester hours or 180 quarter hours from an accredited college or university.*
- Possess a 72 semester hours or 108 quarter hours of graduate credit in theological or religious studies from an accredited school to include an earned graduate degree.*
- Be a U.S. Citizen, the Army may consider permanent resident for individuals entering the reserve programs.
- Specific military requirements.
- Be able to receive a favorable background check.
- Be able to pass a physical exam.
- Be between 21 and 42 years old (age waivers may be granted based on years of prior service).
* If your degree is from a foreign college or university, it must be reviewed through an American accrediting process to determine its equivalence.
4. Consider which federal institution best suits you
Understand that each federal institution has a different culture. Each institution also has its own stresses and strains. See Contemplating Ministry page for more information. If you would like to talk with a chaplain from a specific institution, please contact us and we will connect you with a Presbyterian chaplain from that institution. Call us at 202-244-4177 or email.
5. Complete the Application
- Military Endorsement Application (PDF)
- Veterans Affairs Endorsement Application (PDF)
- Federal Bureau of Prisons Application is not yet posted. Please us the VA application and let us know your preference for FBOP Chaplaincy.
If you are not yet ordained, place the word “Pending” in Section I and give us a clear narrative of your status in that section of the application.
We must have signed applications to begin the process. The adobe form has an electronic signature. If for some reason you cannot electronically sign the application, please physically sign it, scan the application into a file and sent it via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please ensure all items in section J of the Military Endorsement Application are accomplished, and section I for the Veterans Affairs Endorsement Application. Please note: we are no longer requiring a tape sermon for VA chaplaincy applications; this will be updated in the next version of the application.
If your denomination does not use Personal Information Forms, a personal resume will be accepted.
6. Contact your References
To facilitate the processing of your application, please contact the individuals whom you have identified as references to get their permission to serve as a reference and to verify their contact information.
7. Check in with your Presbytery
We must have your presbytery’s approval. Active Duty Chaplaincy, Veteran Affairs Chaplaincy, and Federal Bureau of Prison Chaplaincy are considered “specialized ministries.” If you are pastoring a church, service within the Reserves or National Guard may create issues that need to be negotiated with your congregation. Click on this link for a sample Mobilization Agreement (Word). Please make sure you are talking with appropriate individuals at your presbytery regarding this process. In most cases, it would be the Committee on Ministry or its equivalent, in some in may be the stated clerk or presbyter executive.
8. Interview Process
Individuals seeking endorsement with the VA, FBOP or Civil Air Patrol, will typically be interviewed by a chaplain serving in those institutions. We try to have one of our Presbyterian Chaplains closest to you do the interview. You are expected to travel to meet with him/her if it is reasonable. If such travel is impractical, we will have you complete the interview by phone. If for some reason the interviewing chaplain is not satisfied with the interview, you will be invited to meet with the interview committee at their next meeting.
Individuals seeking endorsement as military chaplains will meet in person with the interview committee. Typically these meetings are held three times a year at different locations and will be scheduled when there are reasonable numbers to justify a meeting. Interviews are typically an hour in length and seek to establish the interviewee’s potential to serve as a military chaplain. Most members of the interview committee served or are serving as military chaplains.